Caveat: Unpumped

Early this morning, it seems, our water pump failed. This is the water pump that supplies the house with water pressure from the cistern, which catches rainwater from the hillside stream.

It’s not clear how or why it failed. It simply seems to have stopped being able to turn – the electric motor is only able to produce a kind of whining sounds as it attempts to spin its internal moving parts. Perhaps the motor itself is “frozen up” (i.e. not from cold – the temperatures are above freezing at the moment – but unable to move), perhaps there was some mechanical problem in the pump mechanism.

Regardless, this is a big issue.

Not as big as it could be, though. Firstly, Arthur has had, on hand, a “spare” pump.

So we spent the day first trying to diagnose the old pump’s problems, and subsequently trying to switch in the new pump. Both tasks proved frustrating.

The problem with the old pump is not clear. We were unable to even fully disassemble it. The pump housing is “stuck” to the motor, in some way we can’t figure out.

The new pump has its input and output holes positioned differently than on the old pump, which has the consequence that the pipe connections leading to it in the cistern shed need to be slightly rearranged. We ended up driving to town to the hardware store and getting some pieces, but even then, we weren’t really well-prepared for what we might need, and so we ended up improvising a bit to get all the pipes connected to the new pump. And then, the new pump was leaking. A lot. And it was getting dark.

Personally, taking the side of optimism, I think the problem is that we didn’t hook up our improvised pipe connections tightly enough, and we need take the new pump out, re-improvise, and reattach things more securely.

Arthur, for his part, taking the side of pessimism (of course), believes the pump housing on the new pump is cracked.

I’m going to try tackling my solution this morning. If that fails, and Arthur’s view prevails, we’re going to need a new pump. Updates will be forthcoming.

Here is the old pump, already removed from the cistern shed and waiting on the workbench in the shop for us to take on the challenge of disassembling it – which we have so far failed at.


Here is the new pump, already in place but not yet fully connected, while we sought out the pieces needed to get the pipes connected to it.


Meanwhile, we have improvised an alternate way to get water into the house. As was discussed on this blog last summer, we had a well put in (ostensibly for the western lot, #73, though there is some debate as to which side of the property line it ended up on). The well is not hooked up to Arthur’s house, on lot #74. But it’s there, and works, with a jury-rigged electrical supply going to the well controller hut (what we call the “doghouse” because of its size). So I ran a garden hose from the faucet I put in the western driveway across to a faucet in Arthur’s driveway. The well pressure comes through the hose, with both faucets open, and provides water pressure and well water to Arthur’s house. This temporary arrangement will work as long as the temperatures remain above freezing – which they currently have been.

Here is the hose off the well faucet. The “doghouse” is on the left, the western driveway’s faucet (which I installed last summer) is on the right.


Here is the hose connected to the faucet in Arthur’s driveway. I had to make a customized “female-female” length of hose to connect the hose to both faucets.



Caveat: Tree #401

Actually, this is a picture of snow. The snow is along the road, melted into a strange shape by rain. There is a tree, out of focus, in the background.


picture[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: Tree #397

It’s difficult to see the depth of this photo. The snow-covered “tree” is a down-hanging branch of a tree above. The snowy stream is behind the branch, several meters back.


picture[daily log: walking, 2.5km]

Caveat: Tree #396

The sun appeared.

This was unprecedented, so I decided to take a walk down the road. Arthur came along.

This tree has appeared before, here. But now it’s been winterized.


Walking along the road, we ran into our neighbor Mike, out walking the dog. He’s a little bit hard to see: center of the road, a bit behind the dog.